Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident?

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Traffic accidents happen in a number of ways, but one of the most common types of accidents is when one vehicle rear-ends another one. If you are injured because the other driver in a rear-end collision was negligent, discuss your rights with a Little Rock personal injury attorney.

In any traffic accident, if the at-fault driver was negligent, and if that negligence is responsible for someone else’s injuries, the injury victim is entitled to compensation for his or her medical expenses, lost earnings, personal pain and suffering, and all other related losses and damages.

What Injuries Are Common in Rear-End Collisions?

Even at low speeds, rear-end crashes can cause severe injuries.

Along with cuts, bruises, and broken bones and ribs, rear-end collisions often result in injuries and conditions that can be long-lasting or permanent, including but not limited to:

  1. facial disfiguremen
  2. paralysis
  3. spinal cord injuries
  4. TBI (traumatic brain injury)
  5. whiplash

When a victim of negligence is going to require a lifetime of medical care, that injury victim must be represented by a Cordova personal injury lawyer who knows what it takes to win the compensation – and the justice – that injured victims of negligence need and deserve.

In rear-end crashes, we usually assume that the driver in the rear vehicle should be deemed at-fault, but is that driver always the at-fault driver? How is liability determined? If you are the injury victim, how can you be compensated for your medical bills and lost wages?

Keep reading for some answers.

How Can You Prove That Another Driver Was Negligent?

To prove that a motorist was negligent in a traffic accident, you must first prove that the driver breached the “duty of care” – the duty to drive prudently and responsibly – that all drivers owe to others on the road. Drivers breach the duty of care in ways that include but are not limited to the:

  1. failure to follow at a safe distance
  2. failure to operate the vehicle at a reasonable speed or maintain control of the vehicle
  3. failure to stop the vehicle as required
  4. failure to use turn signals or yield the right of way
  5. failure to watch for hazards and to keep one’s eyes on the road

These are the steps you must take to win a personal injury case arising from a rear-end collision. You must prove that:

  1. The other driver breached the duty of care that every driver owes to others on the road.
  2. The breach of the duty of care was a direct cause of your personal injury.
  3. You suffered a personal injury, and you are entitled to a specific compensation amount.

Can the Driver in Front Be Liable in a Rear-End Accident?

Every driver must be able to stop his or her vehicle and must follow other vehicles at a safe distance. Drivers in front of you can slow down suddenly or stop unexpectedly for a variety of reasons.

Thus, a driver who crashes or rolls into the rear of another vehicle will almost always be considered at least partially at-fault for a rear-end accident.

However, there are other circumstances where the driver of the front vehicle in a rear-end collision can also be considered partially at-fault, including but not limited to:

  1. The vehicle’s brake lights or taillights did not work.
  2. The driver had a flat tire but did not pull off the road or use the hazard lights.
  3. The driver suddenly stopped to make a turn but (for whatever reason) didn’t turn.
  4. The front driver was tapping the brakes in response to the rear driver’s tailgating.

If Drivers Share Liability, How Are Injury Claims Handled?

If you’re driving the rear vehicle in a rear-end crash, it can be hard to prove that the driver in front had any liability. However, if the driver of the front vehicle in a rear-end crash is found negligent, the next question is “How much did that driver’s negligence contribute to the crash?”

In personal injury law, the “plaintiff” is the injured victim of negligence who is seeking compensation. Under Arkansas law, compensation is awarded in proportion to the plaintiff’s contributions to his or her own injuries.

However, if a plaintiff and a “defendant” (the presumably negligent driver targeted by an injury claim) are equally responsible for the injury, the plaintiff cannot recover damages.

How Does “Modified Comparative Negligence” Work?

In other words, under this state’s “modified comparative negligence” law (Arkansas Code 16-64-122), a plaintiff with 49 percent or less of the responsibility for an accident may recover damages, but a plaintiff with 50 percent or more of the fault may not.

Furthermore, a plaintiff’s damage award is reduced by his or her share of the responsibility for an accident. If your damages total $100,000, for example, but you are 25 percent responsible for your own injury, you may expect to receive only $75,000 in damages.

But to receive anything, you’ll need help from an Arkansas personal injury lawyer who can explain your rights, fight aggressively for justice on your behalf, and guide you through the personal injury process from start to finish.

How Are Most Injury Claims Resolved?

Most personal injury claims in this state are settled privately and away from the courtroom when lawyers for both sides meet to hammer out an agreement. Personal injury trials are not “rare,” but in most cases, a settlement is reached, and an injury victim isn’t even required to appear in court.

However, if you are the injury victim and no acceptable settlement offer is made during out-of-court negotiations, your attorney may recommend:

  1. taking the case to trial
  2. explaining to the jurors what happened
  3. asking the jurors to order the payment of your compensation

How Can You Afford an Attorney’s Help?

If you are out of work because of your injury, and your monthly obligations are piling up next to your medical expenses, arrange at once to meet with a Little Rock personal injury attorney. Your first legal consultation comes with no cost or obligation.

If you and your car accident attorney move forward with a personal injury claim, you pay no attorney’s fee unless and until you receive the compensation you are entitled to under the law. It’s a system that allows every injured victim of negligence to seek justice and to have his or her day in court.

If you’ve been injured in traffic because someone else was negligent, you must have an injury lawyer who knows how to prevail with a personal injury claim. The right injury attorney can make the difference.

In Arkansas, if you’re injured by negligence, you have three years to take legal action, but do not wait three years or even three weeks. See an attorney as soon as you’ve been treated for your injury, and rest assured that if you’ve been injured by negligence, the law is on your side.

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